Purley Downs Golf Club

World Handicapping System (WHS)

Introductory Summary

The WHS will be adopted in the UK from Monday 2nd November 2020, at which time you will be awarded a WHS “handicap index” based on your playing record since the beginning of 2018, and your present CONGU handicap will no longer be usable.

The UK is among the last countries to adopt the WHS, so your new handicap index will immediately be valid everywhere in the world.  No allowance is made in WHS for playing at a course at which you are not a member.

The England Golf Rules for Handicapping on how WHS is to be applied in the UK can be downloaded from

The principle underlying WHS is that the higher your handicap the more shots you need to compete against a scratch golfer (or proportionally against a lower handicap player) on courses which present difficulties particular to higher handicap players, such as longer carries off the tees, more long par 4s, deeper bunkers, etc.  This is based on each course being given a “course rating” (CR) which is the score a scratch player playing to handicap should achieve (similar to the CONGU Standard Scratch Score), and a “slope rating” (SR) which is a measure of how much more difficult a particular course is for a “bogey golfer”.  The baseline SR is 113 – the higher the value above this figure, the more shots a higher handicap player receives.

The Purley Downs courses have been rated as follows:

White – men              CR 71.1                SR 124

Yellow – men             CR 70.1                SR 123

Red – men                  CR 67.7                SR 119

Yellow – women       CR 75.6                SR 131

Red – women            CR 72.9                SR 125

The ratings of other courses can be found on the website

If you have at least 20 qualifying strokeplay rounds in your record since the beginning of 2018, your initial handicap index on 2nd November will be the average of the best 8 of your last 20 rounds after your scores have been adjusted for course and slope rating.  So a round of 85 gross by a man off the Purley Downs white tees when the Competition Standard Scratch (CSS) remained unaltered from the Standard Scratch Score (SSS) will be taken as (85 – 71.1) x 113/124 = 12.7 “handicap differential” (note this is taken to one decimal place).

The handicap differentials of your other 19 scores will be similarly calculated and the average of the best 8 becomes your new WHS handicap index, which will also be to one decimal place.  As you put in further rounds from 2nd November they will replace your oldest rounds which will drop out of consideration and your handicap index will trend up or down depending on how well you are playing.

If you have less than 20 but at least 3 rounds in your record, your handicap index will be based on published tables (click here to view).  A minimum of three rounds is required to be awarded a handicap index.  As your handicap index will be best representative of your playing ability if it is based on the maximum number of rounds, you are encouraged to try and reach 20 qualifying rounds before 2nd November if possible, or as soon as possible afterwards.

Qualifying rounds will be restricted to individual strokeplay (medal, Stableford, bogey/par, etc), and “pre-registered” rounds which will be similar to supplementary rounds under CONGU.  You will continue to be able to do casual rounds which will not count towards your handicap.

For the purposes of competing against others your “course handicap” will be your handicap index adjusted for slope rating.  So a man with a handicap index of 13.8 playing on the Purley Downs white course will have a course handicap of 13.8 x 124/113 = 15.14.  Or a woman with a handicap index of 23.4 will have a course handicap of 23.4 x 125/113 = 25.88 on the Purley Downs red course.  Your “playing handicap” is then your course handicap adjusted for a “handicap allowance” depending on the format of play and rounded to the nearst whole number.  For instance, for fourball betterball it will be based on 90% of your course handicap, a value we are familiar with in CONGU.  However some of the handicap allowances will be different, notably in individual strokeplay it will be 95% - different from the de facto 100% under CONGU.

It is expected that our IntelligentGolf website will take care of all these calculations and show your playing handicap for the competitions you enter.  For informal golf there will be charts posted in the foyer and/or Pro Shop which will enable you to read off your course handicap from your handicap index for each of the white/yellow/red tees, and you should expect similar charts at other courses you visit.

It is expected that IntelligentGolf will also show your projected WHS handicap index sometime in advance of 2nd November for your information.  As your WHS handicap index responds more quickly to your scoring trends, you should expect it may be as much as two or three shots lower or higher than your present CONGU handicap depending on how well or badly you have been playing.

For an alternative summary please see:

There are many factors, adjustments and special provisions equivalent to CONGU’s calculation of competition standard scratch, exceptional score reduction, continuous handicap review, annual review, etc which you can read about in the following links:

Men’s Handicap Committee, June 2020

Revised August 2020 following the publication of the England Golf Rules for Handicapping and confirmation that initial WHS handicap index will be based on playing record from beginning of 2018.  The description of the type of course which would present greater difficulties to higher handicap players has also been improved.

Created by intelligentgolf version 10.1.2.